Subtitle: Education Reform Legislation Update -4.19.08
On Thursday (4/17/08) this week I received my BriefCASE from the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE) detailing the legislative updates and amendments for Senate Bill 212, also called Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4Kids), that passed the second reading of the bill in the Senate. I have referenced this initiative-turned-bill in two of my previous posts on March 19, 2008 and March 30, 2008.
CASE writes (I’ve added links): “These amendments will put Colorado on a fast track to piloting EPAS (Educational Planning and Assessment System) for purposes of data collection in the 2008-2009 school year. The next phase would call for the elimination of 9th and 10th grade CSAP and adoption of ACT College Readiness Standards for reading, writing, math, and science. It would move forward the following assessment package: Explore in 9th grade; PLAN in 10th grade and ACT plus ACT writing in 11th grade. All assessments would be administered in the spring.”
Later that day, I received a news release from the Colorado Department of Education(CDE) that detailed Commissioner Dwight D. Jones‘ “concerns about rush to adopt assessments before standards.” CDE Communications can be found at http://www.cde.state.co.us/Communications/index.html. Here are some quotes from the press release.
Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones today expressed his concern that amendments to Senate Bill 212 approved today may tie the hands of the department in choosing the best possible standards and assessments for Colorado students.
Specific concerns (abbreviated and bulleted, read the full text here)
- Alignment with standards. The ACT/EPAS products are not based on content standards adopted by 178 school districts across the state.
- Achievement gap information.“The Colorado public needs an assurance that any proposed system would provide a similar or better view of achievement gaps.”
- Costs. “No state in the country has gained federal approval for what is being proposed today,” said Commissioner Jones. “No costs have been projected or identified for the process of gaining federal approval…
- Growth model. “It’s unclear what adjustments are needed to fit a new test into the growth model,” said Commissioner Jones.
As an additional point the people over at ACT must be absolutely drooling over the prospect of getting an entire state of 9th and 10th grade students taking their tests. Of course we have mandated the ACT for our 11th graders already. Let’s not forget that although ACT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit company, they aren’t giving their tests away and it’s in their best interests to capture as many kids as possible to give weight to their college and workplace influences. Their continued corporate health directly depends on their sustained growth. Their National Career Readiness Certificate and the associated WorkKeys assessment can’t be far behind if we go down the currently proposed legislative path.